Westside Families Sue Over Construction Project Planned Next to Palms Elementary School, Naming Toxic Dust and Noise Among Concerns

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Several Westside families and school employees are suing to prevent construction that they say will harm students at Palms Elementary School.

Olu K. Orange, an attorney representing teachers and students, announces a lawsuit attempting to prevent a construction project adjacent to Palms Elementary School, naming concerns such as toxic dust and noise that would distract hearing-impaired students, on Dec. 15, 2017. (Credit: Allen J. Schaben / Los Angeles Times)

Olu K. Orange, an attorney representing teachers and students, announces a lawsuit attempting to prevent a construction project adjacent to Palms Elementary School, naming concerns such as toxic dust and noise that would distract hearing-impaired students, on Dec. 15, 2017. (Credit: Allen J. Schaben / Los Angeles Times)

The cause for concern is a large apartment development that would be built adjacent to the campus. A fence is all that separates the construction site from the kindergarten play area, potentially exposing the students to toxic dust and other harms, according to the lawsuit filed by attorney Olu K. Orange, a parent at the school.

An additional worry, Orange said, is the potential effect on hearing-impaired students who benefit from a special program at Palms. These students use devices that amplify sounds and spend some of their time in a specially outfitted classroom — with carpeted walls and a low ceiling — that is designed to minimize extraneous sounds.

“Every distinct noise and ongoing noise interferes with their ability to learn,” Orange said. “It hurts them and it causes them pain.”

Read the full story on LATimes.com.

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